Finally, club football is back. The international break is over after what seemed like a decade, and Leeds are back in action with nine more Premier League games to play until the end of the season. That run starts with a clash against Paul Heckingbottom – who remains in interim charge of Sheffield United ahead of Saturday’s clash at Elland Road.
Not a phrase many would have predicted when Marcelo Bielsa replaced the ex-Barnsley and Hibernian manager back in the summer of 2018. But following the departure of Chris Wilder, Heckingbottom has been given the reigns of a side who look all but relegated and have started preparations for life back in the Championship.
Leeds look to have almost a clean bill of health going into the match. Mateusz Klich picked up Covid-19 on international duty before even featuring in a single match for his country – which forced him to miss what could have been a Kalvin Phillips v Klich midfield battle between England and Poland. Instead, he has been forced to isolate.
Bielsa stated that they are still to await an answer regarding whether Klich will be available but even if he is – the chances are that he will not start, having come off the bench in the last two games against Fulham and Chelsea. Liam Cooper, who also had Covid, is okay to play as are Rodrigo and Pablo Hernandez after recent injuries.
Even Gaetano Berardi and Robin Koch are available for selection – while Adam Forshaw has taken a step towards recovery, training with the Under-23 side. Rodrigo is now expected to have full recovered from the groin injury he suffered and having been a major talking point in the latest press conference – he could start in midfield alongside Stuart Dallas.
That would see Tyler Roberts drop out, and Gjanni Alioski remain at left-back. With Pascal Struijk and Diego Llorente combining well, it is hard to see whether Liam Cooper will earn a starting berth. One change then, in comes Rodrigo for £4million signing (Mail) Roberts in a straight swap.